Anthropological motivated usability evaluation : An exploration of IREON – international relations and area studies gateway

Jahn, Najko Anthropological motivated usability evaluation : An exploration of IREON – international relations and area studies gateway. Library Hi Tech, 2008, vol. 26, n. 4, pp. 606-621. [Journal article (Paginated)]


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English abstract

Purpose – The objective of this paper is to evaluate the usability of the recently developed IREON – International Relations and Area Studies Gateway – with the aid of an anthropological motivated research design. Within such an approach, the work environment and subject experiences of the test subjects become a crucial part of the observation. Design/methodology/approach – The objectives are achieved by contextualisation of the digital library under examination. Furthermore, previous evaluation models of digital libraries are discussed from an anthropological point of view. As a result, a multi-method approach that is context-relative and self-reflexive is applied to assess the usability of IREON. Findings – The structural and cultural complexity of people involved in the development, operation and usage of IREON justifies a multi-method approach. Whereas information specialists and web designers tend to focus on different kind of problems, there is a high degree of common discoverability between political science students and researchers. Research limitations/implications – Because of the contingent nature of digital library usage, evaluation methods and findings have to be always reassessed. Practical implications – Anthropologically motivated usability evaluations are an inexpensive but efficient way to improve design activities. Originality/value – This paper provides librarians with basic knowledge of anthropological methods to evaluate digital library services.

Item type: Journal article (Paginated)
Keywords: Digital libraries, User studies, Best practice
Subjects: C. Users, literacy and reading. > CB. User studies.
Depositing user: Najko Jahn
Date deposited: 02 Sep 2009
Last modified: 02 Oct 2014 12:15


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